Monthly Archives: January, 2017

Hope Wept

‘World War II prompted the largest displacement of human beings the world has ever seen-although today’s refugee crisis is starting to approach it’s unprecedented scale.  But even the millions of European Jews displaced from their homes, the United States had a poor track record offering asylum.  Most notoriously, in June 1939, the German ocean liner St. Louis and it’s 937 passengers, almost all Jewish, were turned away from the port of Miami, forcing the ship to return to Europe; more than a quarter died in the Holocaust,’ according to

‘The internment of Japanese Americans in the United States during World War II was the forced relocation and incarceration in camps in the interior of the country of between 110,000 and 120,000 people of Japanese ancestors who lived in the Pacific coast.  Sixty-two percent of the internees were United States citizens,’ according to Wikipedia.

Citizens from the following countries are affected for 120 days by President Trump’s Executive Order banning their entry into the United States, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, and Yemen.  This ban includes persons with a Green Card.  This Order bans Syrian refugees until further notice.

‘In September, Hungary authorized its army to shoot rubber bullets and tear gas at desperate refugees on its border.  This decision followed increasing and often violent clashes between authorities and refugees in the area.  Meanwhile, nations worldwide were clamping down their borders, even when it went against their traditional and cultural principles.  Britain, for example, has always drawn a distinction between immigrants and refugees.  For centuries it has welcomed the destitute and those fleeing persecution-from the Huguenots escaping Louis XIV in the 1720s-70s to the Uganda Asians trying to get away from Idi Amin in the 1970s.  Yet earlier this month Britain’s ruling Tory Party bared 3,000 child refugees-and made persistent efforts to limit Britain’s Syrian refugee intake.  It is a pattern which is being repeated all over Europe.  Those countries which are taking more refugees in (such as Germany) are experiencing unprecedented volumes of internal opposition-and one need only flick quickly through the comments section of any refugee-related Facebook article to see the horrible vitriol with which the safe condemn the suffering.  But why?  Where does all of this anger come from?  Why are the refugees so despised in some quarters?’, according to I Am Syria?

It appears that many confuse the Muslim faith with ISIS.  The Muslim faith has it’s roots in the Middle East and traces back to Abraham. ‘The hijackers in the September 11 attacks were 19 men affiliated with al-Qaeda.  15 of the 19 were citizens of Saudi Arabia, and the others were from the United Arab Emirates (2) Egypt and Lebanon,’ according to Wikipedia.

“Here’s a look back at the major terrorist attacks that have taken place on US soil since 9/11, including the nationalities of the perpetrator, or perpetrators.

-2001 Anthrax attacks-The FBI concluded Bruce Ivins, a top biodefense researcher, was the key suspect for the attacks, although he was never charged for any crime.  Ivins was American.

-2002 DC sniper attacks-Over the course of three weeks in 2002, John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo killed 10 people and critically injured three others in Washington DC, Baltimore, and Virginia.  Muhammad was born as John Allen Williams in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  Malvo is from Jamaica.

-2006 UNC SUV attack-Mohammed Reza Taheri-aza intentionally rammed into people on the UNC Chapel Hill campus.  Nine people were injured, none seriously.  Taheri-aza was reportedly an Iranian-born US citizen.

-2006 Seattle Capitol Hill massacre-Kyle Aaron Huff opened fire in a rave afterparty in Seattle’s Capitol Hill, killing six and wounding two others.  Huff was American, from Whitefish, Montana.

-2006 Seattle Jewish Federation shooting-Naveed Afzan Hauq shot six people, one fatally at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle building.  Haq was a US citizen of Pakistani descent.

-2008 Knoxville Unitarian Universalist church shooting-Jim David Addison killed two people wonder seven others at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee.  Addison was American.

-2009 Arkansas recruiting office shooting-Abdulahakim Mujahid Muhammad shot and killed one military recruiter and seriously wounded another at a Little Rock, Arkansas Army/navy Career Center.  Muhammad, previously known as Carlos Leon Bledsoe, was American.

-2009 Fort Hood Shooting-Nidal Malik Hasan, a US Army major and psychiatrist, fatally shot 13 people and injured more than 30 others in Fort Hood, Texas.  Hasan was born in the US to Palestinian parents.

-2010 Austin Suicide Attack-Andrew Joseph Stack III deliberately crashed his single engine plane into the Austin, Texas, IRS building, killing himself, one IRS employee and injuring 13 others.  Stack was American.

-2012 Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting-Wade Michael Page fatally shot six people and wounded four others at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.  Page, who was active in white supremacist groups, was an American.

-2013 Boston Marathon Marathon Bombing-Double bombings near the finish line of the Boston Marathon killed three people and injured at least 264.  The perpetrators were brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.  According to FBI interrogators, the two were motivated by extremist Islamic beliefs,but were not connected to any known terrorist groups.  Tamerlan was born in Russia but was a permanent resident of the US, while Dzhokhar was born in Kyrgyzstan and became a naturalized US citizen in 2012.  Both were ethnically Chechen.

-2013 Los Angeles International Airport shooting-Paul Anthony Ciancia opened fire at Terminal 3 in LAX, killing one and injuring several others.  Ciancia is American and grew up in Pennsville, New Jersey.

-2013 Overland Park Jewish Community Center shooting-Frazier Glenn Miller, Jr., a neo-Nazi whit supremacist, committed a pair of shooting at the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park, Kansas, killing a total of three people.  Miller was American.

-2014 Las Vegas shooting-A married couple, Jerad and Amanda Miller, committed a shooting spree in Las Vegas, killing three people as well as themselves.  Both were American and supported extreme anti-government views.

-2014 Queens hatchet attack-Zale H. Thompson attacked four New York City Police Department officers with a metal hatchet, injuring two.  A civilian was also injured after police opened fire on Thompson.  Thompson, who was American, was described by police officials as a self-radicalized Muslim convert who was inspired by terrorist groups.

-2014 slayings of NYPD officers-Ismaaiyl Abdullah Brinkley killed two on-duty NYPD officers, reportedly as revenge for the deaths pf Eric Garner and Michale Brown.  Bristly was born in the US to a Muslim African-American family.

-2015 Charleston church shooting-Dylann Roof killed nine people and injured one during a mass shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina.  Roof, a white supremacist, is American and was sentenced to death on Jan. 10.

-2015 Chattanooga shooting-Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez opened fire on two military installations in Chattanooga, Tennessee, killing four Marines and wounding two others.  Fifth Marine died from his injuries two days later.  Abdulazeez, a naturalized US citizen was born in Kuwait to Palestinian-Jordanian parents.

-2015 Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooting-  Robert Louis DearJr., a mass shooting at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic, killing three and injuring nine others.  Dear, who is American,was ruled incompetent to stand trial and was indefinitely confined to a Colorado State mental hospital.

-2015 San Bernardino attack-A married couple, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik killed 14 civilians and injured 22 others in a mass shooting at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California.  Farrok was born in the US to Pakistani parents, Malik, who was a permanent US resident, was born in Pakistan but grew up in Saudi Arabia.

-2016 Orlando nightclub shooting-Omar Mateen killed 49 people and wounded 53 at a mass shooting at the gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.  Sateen was an American born in the US to Afghan parents.

-2016 shooting of Dallas police officers-Micha Xavier Johnson ambushed a group of Dallas police officers, killing five and injuring nine others.  Johnson, a former Army reservist, was an American.

-2016 Minnesota mall stabbing-Dahir A. Adan committed a mass stabbing at the Crossroads Center shopping mall in St. Cloud, Minnesota, injuring 10 people.  Adan was born in Kenya and became a naturalized US citizen in 2008.

2016 New York and New Jersey bombings-Over the course of three days in September, three bombs exploded and several devices were found in New Jersey and New York City, injuring at least 30 people.  The alleged perpetrator was Ahmad Khan Rahimi, and Afghan born US citizen.

-2016 Ohio State University attack-Abdul Razal Ali Artan carried out an attack on the Ohio State University campus injuring 13.  Arian, a student of the university, was a Musim Somali immigrant.

2017 Fort Lauderdale Airport attack-A mass shooting occurred at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport near the baggage claim in Terminal 2 on Jan. 6.  A total of five people were killed and six others were injured.  Esteban Ruiz Santiago, the alleged shooter, was indicted on 22 counts by a federal grand jury on Thursday.  Santiago is an American, born to Puerto Rican in New Jersey,” ( The above information taken from People Magazine Posted on January 29, 2017, at 10:00 A:M: EST.)

On the Statue of Liberty is inscribed the poem by Emma Lazarus, ‘Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breath free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.  Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:  I lift my lamp beside the golden door.’

statue of liberty construction

For our history…with all of our human rights mistakes…we often have risen to the aspirations of the Lazarus poem.  Amidst all of our darkness of deed and thought…yet we still were the beacon of freedom and safety and opportunity to the abused and hurting of the world.  When we leave the bedrock principles that have identified us as the beacon of light to our planet…do we also turn our back on the greatness of our character?

Has our Beacon been snuffed out?

Malala YousafzaiDSCN2370DSCN0022statue of liberty, arm w torch32538D0A-6F26-41C0-8088-868BA9BC542AIMG_0346DSCN1810Where are we going…who will be be when we arrive…and how will the nations of the world treat us when we are persecuted and afraid and homeless?

‘But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.’   Matthew 19:4   KJV

The Gift of Education

Recent events have illustrated the profound gift of Education to the Human Race.  Lately ‘Alternative Facts’ have been touted as valid assertions by the United Sates Government.  Also, Conspiracy Theory notions have been given credibility and study at our government’s highest levels.

I was raised in a family where higher education was not mentioned.  Neither my mother or father had received the privilege of attending a college or university.  Often education, post high school, was made light of or looked upon as unnecessary.  Conspiracy theory had equal weight as facts…science…and philosophy.  I knew people that read the National Enquire…and believed it’s bizarre assertions.

Education’s original purpose is to produce a critically thinking individual.  A person who does not take a leader…a pastor…or their neighbor’s beliefs as settled concrete reality.  Mr. Spock, of original Star Trek fame, often remarked whether something was logical or not.  Education gives you a working background that you can weigh pronouncements and illogical paranoid ‘fever dreams’ against demonstrated reality or facts.

For sometime now…Southern Illinois University has been under budgetary attack.  Sadly the dedication States had for many years to providing a solid University Education to their citizenry…has been left to the side of the road…for the expediency of political posturing and pandering.

SIU has been forced into a budget scenario that will devastate their academic programs and their academic support programs.  This sad state of affairs has been precipitated by gross inaction of both the Illinois Legislature and the Governor.

The latest budget proposal asks for the examination of hundreds of positions through Outsourcing and the draconian cuts of Academic Support programs.

SIU is the light in Little Egypt that has pulled up the poor working people of our region…and without this Light…we will be Appalachia.

Do we really want to turn our back on Higher Education?  Will the American people be strong competitors on the world stage by absorbing the knowledge that is available to them through media…their neighbors…their churches…?

Does the TriLateral Commission and the Bilderbacks truly run our government behind the scenes?  Were there really three to five million illegal votes cast during our last presidential election?  Does any television news station provide us with all of the facts that we need to make informed decisions…without research?

147E81C3-7667-48EE-82EB-67D807E0F727DSCN2315Truly facts are not always forthcoming and have to be dug for as one would mine for precious gold.  The benefit of a strong background in the Arts…the Sciences…and History is invaluable in weighing the multitude of beliefs held by our Human Family.

IMG_2765 2

Miramar Beach In The Winter

Two weeks ago today…on a cold and cloudy January day…we were asked if we would like to join my great brother-in law and sister-in-law for a trip to Florida.  After  thinking for about 1.5 seconds we said yes.  It was like Christmas in January!

I love the Ocean.  I love any body of water.  I find it amazingly peaceful and soothing.  Our house in Carbondale, Illinois adjoins a large pond…I stare at it for hours.


IMG_0204.JPGI also am fascinated by sunsets…especially sunsets on the Ocean.

img_0223img_0225img_0228img_0244img_0248img_0255The interaction of clouds with the Ocean is a never changing kaleidoscope of color.

img_0297img_0283img_0369img_0409img_0425The beauty of the ebb and flow of the Oceans waves is constantly changing.

img_0285img_0332img_0393Now while we were enjoying the grandeur of nature I was sipping another natural product procured from our visit, on the trip through Tennessee…and a visit to the Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Gentleman Jack and Honey Jack.

img_0171And, so we have the gift of breath in our bodies…and God is in his heaven.  Let us never forget to enjoy this unparalleled gift of life!


They’re Back

Yesterday was Inauguration day for the 45th President of the United States.  I watched the events on television as many Americans did across our country.  I watched with as much of an open mind that I could muster…and I saw some instances of hope…I thought.

I noticed, once again, that President Trump’s family is lovely.  The recognition and appreciation of President Clinton and Secretary Hillary Clinton’s attendance at his Inaugural and his giving them a standing ovation was heartfelt and classy thing to do.

President Trump’s obvious affection for his ten year old son Barron and Barron’s wonder and enjoyment of the Inaugural Parade was humanizing of our new President and gave me hope.

Today…his first day…he chose to delegitimize the media and accuse them of publicizing falsehoods regarding his opinion of the Intelligence Community.  He did this in front of the CIA’s Memorial Wall of their 117 fallen comrades, which is sacred place at CIA headquarters, and then he continued to speak for nine of his fifteen minute address regarding the size of the crowd at his Inauguration.

Press Secretary Sean Spicer accused the media today of, ‘deliberately false reporting,’ on yesterday’s size of the Inauguration crowd, according to the blaze.

A photograph of the Washington Mall during President Trump’s Inauguration placed side by side with President Obama’s Inauguration reveals an objective difference between the size of the crowd on the Mall.  President Trump’s Inauguration crowd is noticeably smaller.

I could not help but notice the very non-judgmental reporting by CNN yesterday during the festivities.  The reporters had little if anything negative to say but rather focused on the pomp and circumstance of the majesty of the Inauguration.  I do not recall anyone talking about crowd size…they did talk about how beautiful our American tradition of the Transfer of Power was.

Facts do matter.  We have to agree that the sun rises in the East and sets in the West.  It is settled fact that our Earth is round.  As the saying goes, ‘are you going to believe me or you’r lying eyes?’

Today women across the globe were motivated to protest due to the election of President Trump.  This world wide coordinated protest is factual…and extremely unusual the day after the Inauguration of a United States President.

Women have been a powerful influence thought my life.  My father left my mother and I when I was five years old.  My Mom was devastated…but she picked herself up off the floor and enrolled in Photography School…to learn a trade…to feed her son and put clothes on his little back.

My lovely wife, Mary Jane, took care of my Mom, after my stepfather died, while at the same time retuning to University and obtaining her Master’s degree…at the age of forty.  Mom suffered from Alzheimer disease.

I saw the first female Chancellor of Southern Illinois University fired on trumped up charges with less than a year of service.  That short year was like a breath of fresh air for faculty…staff…and students.  We finally knew that we had a University Leader who cared about us.

Women are over half of our population.  They are vital to every human endeavor.

In the 1986 movie Poltergeist the little girl played by the actress Heather O’Roarke stated, ‘They’re back,’ in reference to the evil spirits that had invaded their home.

We must have a free press.  That does not mean that you have to like them…or agree with them…or always believe them.  We must not accept when a leader, Democrat or Republican, tells us something that is diametrically opposite from what our eyes and ears and brain know is true.

If we do this…then we are under the influence of an Alternate Reality that is dangerous…and by aquiesence can control our freedom and our truth.




Christmas All Year?

I am always a little sad at this time of year as I miss the unique feeling of love and joy and camaraderie that is more evident during Christmas time.  I have often reflected on what is it that so enthralls me about the holidays.  There is a special…almost parallel universe of peace and goodwill and helping others during Christmas…that is painfully missing from everyday life from January to December.

We celebrate the miraculous birth of Jesus in a manger surrounded by his loving mother and father and the wise men and the animals…and yet the magnitude of the birth is often lost to us when we forget the reason for the season is message of hope that he brought us.

‘The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners.  But wisdom is justified of her children.’  Matthew 11:9  KJV

‘They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.  Now Moses in the law commands us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?  This they said tempting him, that they might have to accuse him.  But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.  So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that its without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.  And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.  And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last:  and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.  When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers?  Hath no man condemned thee?’   John 8:4-10   KJV

What did Jesus write on the ground?

‘When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he  anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay,’   John 9:6   KJV

The suffering and less fortunate and homeless and destitute are among us like never before.  How much Christmas can we have in our actions and in our hearts by helping someone in need?

The Syrian, the Mexican, the African American, and the Muslim seek a Christian Community that exemplifies the example of their founder.

People who are different from me does not mean that they are lesser than me.  Difference should be celebrated and welcomed and learned from.

The theme of our great Country depends on the actions of each of us.  If I want a welcoming Country…I must be welcoming.  If I want peace…I must be a peacemaker.  If I want the hungry to be fed…I must feed the hungry.

Christmas is powerful because of the ideals and demonstrated gracious and loving actions of the little baby born in the manger…so long ago.

The elusive happiness that we all seek…is at the end of our hand…helping our fellow human traveller.




A New World?

It was a wonderful Holiday Season.  A reconnection with an old friend and a two lovely visits to one of my favorite cities, St. Louis, helped to enrich my holiday enjoyment.  I did all of this and also fractured three ribs in an inopportune fall on ice.  The pain, especially the muscle spasms in my right side was like nothing that I had experienced to date.

Mary Jane and I especially enjoyed visiting with our niece Tara and her husband Mike on Thanksgiving and Christmas.  They are delightful people who we love and admire…and we feel like we know them better after our recent visits.  Their children are wonderful.

I had a lovely gift from my life long friend Jeff, who has lived in Europe for several years, that was truly touching.

Life has brought us, in the United States, to a New World.  We have elected a President who is much different from his predecessors.  His rhetoric during his campaign was hurtful and unnecessary.  His spoken words regarding many groups of people were frightening.  Does he feel strongly regarding all of the hurtful words that he said about ; women, minorities, the handicapped, and immigrants…probably not?

There have been encouraging economic signs since we have had since a President Elect Trump.  The saving of 700 Carrier jobs in Indiana and Ford Motor Company deciding to not build a plant in Mexico and instead doing so in America.  The Tweet of the President Elect disavowing the Republican House members attempt to reduce the power of the independent House Ethics Committee and the subsequent change of heart of the House Membership.

Obamacare has problems.  It is to expensive for many middle class Americans.  Often you are not able to keep your Physician that your are comfortable with.  But, twenty-million Americans now have insurance where they did not prior to Obamacare.

If the President Elect will fix the Affordable Care Act…and not replace it…he will show statesmanship and wisdom that will be appreciated by Republicans and Democrats alike.

Let’s not embrace the Despot, Vladimir Putin.  Let’s not belittle and besmirch all of our Intelligence Agencies…who put their lives on the line…and who we rely upon for our safety and security.

Our President Elect has exhibited an ability to make a deal.  Let us hope and watch and wait for a President who will negotiate with both sides of the aisle in Congress to produce a much needed Infrastructure Program that will repair our out of date bridges and roads, and replace our crumbling rail lines and put millions of Americans to work.

President Elect Trump has shown a desire to consult craftsmen and women on his work sites, directly, as to their expert opinion.  He now has the golden opportunity to reach out to; African Americans, Women, the disabled, Muslims, Mexicans and others and demonstrate the magnanimity of the highest office in the land.

The President Elect, as do we all, craves approval…and being liked…and being appreciated.  Nothing would reinforce this Presidential desire more than genuinely and sincerely reaching out to those that, due to his campaign rhetoric, feel apprehension and real fear.

Often, when I was a manager of a large housekeeping organization, my leadership staff would bring to me disparaging comments that someone within the organization had uttered concerning me.  I repeatedly asked them to not share such comments with me unless someone was threatening my life or trying to get me fired.

A member of my immediate staff told me once, that if you did not know who was my enemy or my friend…you would never be able to tell by the way that I treated them…as I appeared to treat my enemies just like my friends…if not better.

I am sure that this gracious comment was not true…but it was what I strove to accomplish.

Mr. President Elect…make your enemies your friends…and your friends…love you.